Mediterranean Chicken with Pomegranates and Root Vegetables

© 2012

This is a wonderful Fall meal with our fresh little pomegranate jewels. Doesn’t this look delicious? Baby Lady wanted her portion of the meal shown in the header so you can see she picked out the carrots. They’re the little blurry orange things tucked behind the good looking drumstick. She absolutely hates cooked carrots and picks them out of any meal in which they are served. I, on the other hand, thought they went beautifully with the meal but I digress.

I love pomegranates. I love harvesting the little jewels from the tree. Aren’t they pretty?

© 2012

There’s just something about growing what you eat that makes it all the more fun. I know it’s pesticide free and properly cared for. 🙂 Besides being homegrown and wonderful tasty little treats, pomegranates have been around for centuries and are good for you, too. Did you know pomegranates are one of the oldest known fruits, found in writings and artifacts of many cultures and religions. For instance, Persians actually believe it was a pomegranate Eve picked and ate from the Tree of Knowledge, not an apple. It would make sense inasmuch as apples were not indigenous to that part of the world yet pomegranates are. Ancient Egyptians believed pomegranates offered eternal life so they buried their dead with them. Greeks break open a pomegranate at wedding celebrations as a symbol of good tidings and fertility. The Chinese eat candied pomegranate seeds for good luck. Amazingly revered little food, isn’t it?

In the US, we don’t have any of those wonderful cultural ties to the pomegranate. Instead, we wonder why they are so revered in ancient cultures and research them. This research has led many to proclaim pomegranates as a “superfood” because they are high in phytochemical content that clinical studies are showing to confer health benefits. For instance, because they are high in antioxidants, pomegranates are good for your heart. Additionally, they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and leukemia. Also of note, the phytochemical compounds in pomegranate juice stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression. Pretty impressive for a little fruit, huh?

Of course, I really don’t pay any attention to these facts. I eat them because I love them. 🙂 They are just downright good and look really nice sprinkled on a plate. Fiery little ruby food gems. They are downright wonderful and I get excited every Fall when they are ripe and begin to appear in grocery stores. Because the pomegranate originated in the Mediterranean, there are lots of Mediterranean dishes using pomegranates. This is our take on a delicious Mediterranean dish. We hope you like it.


For the Chicken

  • 2 large chicken quarters
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup concentrated fresh pomegranate juice
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp orange blossom honey
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds for garnish

For the Root Vegetables

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 turnip, peeled and chopped inch 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Before I did anything, I grabbed 3 pomegranates off the tree, took out the wonderful little seeds and juiced them through a chinoise.

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You will notice some of the fruit wasn’t quite ripe (most of it was) but the skin on the fruit had split because of some recent heavy rains. Once the skins split, insects, fungus and birds will get to the fruit. So, I harvested it. Sorry, but I’m selfish and would rather harvest early than give it to the pests.

Three pomegranates gave me roughly 3 cups of deep maroonish colored juice.

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I placed the sauce pot over medium heat and reduced the juice to roughly 1-1/4 cup to intensify the flavor. I wanted to make sure the chicken had a nice pomegranate flavor.

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Once the juice was concentrated, in a large bowl mix the olive oil, concentrated fresh pomegranate juice, orange blossom honey, garlic, coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

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Pour over the chicken quarters in a vacuum bag and seal. You can also use a zip log bag, too.

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Put the chicken in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.

When ready to cook, prepare the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and put in a roasting pan.

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Place the chicken quarters on top of the veggies and pour 1/2 of the marinade from the bag over the chicken.

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Place roasting pan in a preheated 335 F oven and roast for 50 minutes or until done.

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While the chicken and veggies are roasting, take the remaining marinade and place it in a sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup concentrated pomegranate juice, and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Heat over medium heat until simmering. Add 1/2 tsp cornstarch to 2 Tbsp water and mix to make a slurry. Add slurry to sauce to thicken.

When the chicken is done, place chicken and veggies on the plate. Spoon some sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve and enjoy.

© 2012

19 thoughts on “Mediterranean Chicken with Pomegranates and Root Vegetables”

  1. There’s so much to like about this recipe.You used legs & thighs with bones & skin intact. I am so over boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Love that you used pomegranate juice in the marinade and included rutabaga with the other root vegetables. I even like the carrots! This is one good looking dish and a tasty meal, Richard.

    1. Hi, John. Thanks for the nice compliment. 🙂 I agree with you about boneless, skinless, tasteless, overcooked chicken breasts. Cooking “on the bone” helps prevent juices from escaping from what would otherwise be a cut surface. Bones also act as an insulator, slowing the transfer of heat, which is why meat near the bone is always more rare and moist than meat near the surface. The net out is moister meat. While some people ascribe to the theory cooking on the bone imparts flavor to the meat, I do not. The only time cooking on the bone affects flavor is if you are using marrow bones in a braising technique. As for the skin, I like the flavor and the crispy texture. It’s not healthy for me but I really hate limiting my diet solely to healthy foods. My younger brother says he uses me as his caged birds like the miners. If what I’m eating doesn’t kill me then he can eat it, too. 😀

  2. Also lovely. I am working my way backwards through the reader having been away in France. While there, a neighbour left us in a sack of pomegranates. We got there on a budget flight with a 10 kilo per person luggage limit. Hence, the beautiful pomegranates got left behind. Damnation!

    1. Thanks, Conor. Sorry about the pomegranates. It would have been a very tough decision for me to leave them behind. I would have tried to get them onboard any way possible.

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